USPS, Shame on you!

USPS, Shame on you!SHAME ON YOU!
By Paul Gereffi

Fats Domino might have summed up the current plight of the Postal Service best when he sang “Ain’t That a Shame” back in 1955. Coincidentally, that’s the year I started in the Post Office (just kidding!) Just seems like it.

We have a great company that is now back on the upswing despite everything upper management could do to ruin us. According to the latest figures, the USPS set a record for the number of parcels delivered this Christmas season, including a record 28.2 million the Monday before Christmas, the most ever in our 237-year history. That’s the good part. The shame is that it was accomplished in the midst of some of the worst management we’ve ever seen, going back to Ben Franklin those 237 years ago. (Hear ye, hear ye, all carriers must make sure their horses have been fed and are ready to hit the path! Be back before the street lamps are lit.)

Shame on you, Mr. Postmaster General, for doing everything you can to convince Congress and the media that we are a company on the verge of going broke, with an overpaid workforce and a “failing business model,” as you put it. Shame on you for trying to eliminate Saturday delivery, then agreeing to deliver parcels on Sunday, sending a mixed message to the public and our mailers. Shame on you for telling us on employee videos what a great job we’re doing, then trashing us to everyone else behind our backs.

You were so wrong, for so often, that you felt compelled to retire. Shame on you IN ADVANCE for going to work for our competitors, which I’m sure you will do as soon as you retire, as those before you have done.

Shame on upper management for demonstrating total incompetence and lack of planning for failing to get the mail to the stations in a reasonable time and changing to start times of 9 am or later to cover for their buffoonery. The result? Delivery of mail AFTER DARK on a REGULAR BASIS. I can only imagine the managers meeting:

“Staff, here’s the challenge. Let’s figure out a way to get the mail to stations early enough to get our customers the service they deserve and speed up the mail. This will involve creating schedules for truck drivers, improving the ways and times we pick up collection boxes, figuring out the best locations for mail processing, and making sure we have enough employees on hand to handle the mail volume.

We need to develop a sound strategy, implement proper planning, and use some real creative thinking.

Any suggestions?”

“Yes, how about we forget all that and just order donuts?’

“Well played; meeting adjourned!”

Congrats on our latest commercials (featuring genuine letter carriers, by the way) touting our parcel pick-up service. Carriers will pick up parcels at the home or business, saving our customers a trip to the Post Office. However, at some stations, supervisors refuse to allow time for returning to a business or residence for a pick-up, or pretend not to know about this service, pressuring the carrier to be off the street at a certain time, parcel pickup be damned.

Shame on them!

Shame on us for not having enough clerks to provide a dedicated person on the dock to manage outgoing mail in the afternoon. Often, returning carriers with pick-ups have to jockey for space with customers who bring their outgoing parcels and other mailings to the dock. If the clerk is busy inside or doing something else, it’s generally mass confusion and an accident waiting to happen. Also, what happened to security of the mail?

Shame on us for allowing our collection boxes to deteriorate to the point that many of them are faded memories of their former selves. On running a holiday collection, I noticed many of the collection boxes are rusted through on the top, allowing rain to leak inside. How to explain that to the customers?

Shame on whoever made the decision to take the tires off the front of my truck, and replace them with bald ones. How did this happen? Simple, some other truck was tagged for bald tires and they took the “good ones” off mine and put them on the other truck, and put the bald ones on my truck, taking “tire rotation” to a new and incompetent level. I know the squeaky wheel gets the grease, but that’s ridiculous, and dangerous.

Shame on whoever has allowed our “facilities” to deteriorate to the point of embarrassment. Last I looked (and trust me, I try not to) we are down to two toilets out of commission and a urinal that has been removed. I’ve seen bathrooms in better condition in a bus station. And double shame on my fellow carriers that seem to enjoy stuffing paper towels in the toilet to clog them.

Shame on those managers who come to our station to examine “the product” (that’s their new jargon for the mail), huddle in small groups, then do nothing about it. The DPS is a mess, the parcels still come late, and there is usually a crab cage or two that belongs to another station. We even had one idiot who would walk around with two different cell phones, one on each ear, acting as if he was doing something about it and barking orders into the phones. (“I distinctly told you, one dozen powdered donuts!”) The result of these meetings of the minds? You guessed it. NOTHING!

Our only “product” should be our service to our customers and getting the mail to them as quickly as possible. Instead, we’ve become a company where everything is internalized. The only thing that matters to managers is meeting the numbers and the approval of the other managers on conference calls.

Most of all, shame on them for investing billions of dollars in automation, only to see the mail slowed to a crawl and service deteriorate. While our parcel business is up, everything else is adversely affected by automation. It took them years to admit that the flat sorting machines didn’t work. When are they going to admit that automation has slowed the mail down so much that we can’t get it all delivered before nightfall? They won’t. Instead, starting the second week of January, we changed our service standards so that today’s mail will actually be delivered tomorrow. Probably after dark.

Ain’t that a shame!

About the author
Paul Gereffi, a frequent contributor to, started his career with USPS in 1974. Gereffi is a member of NALC Branch #2550 in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Several years ago,  Gereffi was named Eastern Region Hero for helping subdue a disgruntled man who had assaulted his boss with a steak knife. Driving along his route in Ft. Lauderdale, Gereffi noticed a man with a shirt covered in blood behind a building. After calling 911, he and another witness held the attacker until police arrived.

15 thoughts on “USPS, Shame on you!

  1. Ladies and Gentlement,
    meaning everyone who works in the Postal Service,from top management to the lowest PSes and CCAs,
    please join me in saying in unison:

    The American Public and The Media should be informed that top management
    IS DELAYING the Mail on Purpose,in order to get the American public to be fed up and stop using the Postal service traditional efficient service. That many new evil strategies like plant consolidations,employees exccessing and other shameful practices like rendering efficient productive Processing Plants,and distribution centers,acrosss the nation,are therefore being rendered inefficient and useless!
    That the Postal Service still has more profits than losses,but top management,like the PMGs only report the minor losses caused by the Retirement Fund of employees for the next 75 years,rather than the high profits made every financial quarter.
    STOP DELAYING America’s Mail”
    Stop the useless re-routing of mail to farher distribution center by useles and wasteful Plant consolidations.
    The American People needs to be SERVED BETTER NOW!
    DO NOT sacrifice hard working honest working employees(but do punish only the few lazy ones!(sometimes management’s favorite people?) Shsame on You who do not want to serve the American Public Better!
    Also let’s penalize members of Congress who do not want to intervene to stop this PMGs madness with no votes in the coming election. Period.

  2. There are more problems than just poor micro-managed bosses. Each and every employee, management and craft, needs to make a decision. Do I want and need this position to be here as a long-term career, or not? The Unions have become organizations that have but one real purpose…protecting employees that refuse to do their jobs. Management is forced to work in such poor conditions, that they become complacent. WE are the Postal Service! WE provide the best service anywhere. When will WE learn to do this together, rather than fighting against ourselves.

  3. When searching to see if there was some documented problem with priority mail to Ft Lauderdale, I stumbled across this article by accident. In the past, there always seemed to be a small delay, but I understood that there may be a variety of issues due to volume. On Feb 21st, I sent two priority packages. As of Feb 26th, the only tracking info is the departure from the local HUB Feb 21st around 11pm. It is sad to hear what is going on. I feel for all the workers that are trying very hard to do their job to the best of their ability. I value my carrier and my local post office. I am sorry for what is occurring in Ft Lauderdale. I regret that in the future, I don’t feel at all confident sending anything through to the USPS to Ft Lauderdale.

  4. Same ol’ same ol’ ! Uncaring Congress until gets in their voters hair then with some really angry cotituents on their case they ? might ? get off the dime ! !

  5. This decision to slow the mail is the worst I’ve seen in my 24 years. The only thing that makes sense is that upper management (and parts of congress) want the USPS private) Why else would they purposely sabotage our once great institution. It’s become a embarrassment. the final straw for me was when we were told not to sweep the first class corrals for the final first pass run for any of our DPS on Fri, 2-13, sat 2-14 service. I say this because the corrals were loaded with valentine cards that easily could have been run in. This meant all those cards wouldn’t reach their destination until at least 2-17! ridiculous, shameful and embarrassing. I saw pars mail with 1-26 post marks that night. Again, shameful. We are being told to run standard and push back the first class! Huh? And then, to top it off I get to hear, via the uninformed media that we lost a billion again. So tired of the truth not being told and the general public ( our customers) being left in the dark as to our actual financial situation. It amazes me that congress can maintain that we are in financial straits, when they put us there, and then took our money ( billions) for their own needs,. I call radio stations whenever the topic arises just to inform whomever may be listening that the USPS is making money, it’s all a farce.

    Truly embarrassed.

  6. The problem with the US is we have managers who no longer manage. They stare at computer screens all day and blame someone else for problems. No leadership. They are afraid to think for themselves and have forgotten how to SERVE the customer. They are concerned more about their “high three” than the tasks at hand.
    Washington is clueless of what is happening and the Areas are spineless to tell them the truth.

  7. Nice article. I’m sure now that the postal computer system is back and running, people like us who comment on the shape of the USPS in anything less than glowing ass kisser terms probably have spy ware on our computers, installed by somebody outside the Service, because the USPS couldn’t hack into its own system without the help of a bright four year old.
    Watch out for the new scanners. They are supposedly so packed with spyware they can monitor every move we make, every minute over we’re at our lunch stops, when we’re not at a designated stop when DOIS says we should be, and probably whether we’re farting in our trucks while we drive. Of course with all those features, that’s just one more thing we hope will break down in a hurry. My cell phone can’t last half a day without dying, if it ever does link up.
    I can’t retire fast enough.

  8. Postal management is doing every thing possible to make the public lose faith in the Postal Service. All the while seeing that they have big pay, little to do all day, and trying the most to see service is terrible. Why doesn’t management try to improve the working conditions of the CCAs. So management thinks that a 60 % quit rate is fine? Or that window service should be slow? Tell me that the decline isn’t done for a reason!

  9. BRAVO !!! All I want to know why isn’t this on the front pages of all newspapers ? That’s how you get the word out and these looming plant closures to stop . The Unions need to get together and spend the money where it will do the best !

  10. We have carriers who are not scheduled back until 4:15 yet dispatch time is 3:45…??? Excuse me? Several days we have to wait until 10 am for our DPS to show up at our office and are expected to hold our carriers there even though they are already running late because the 1st truck was late getting there. Our box up times are 10 am but it is actually up at 11 or 12 because of the lateness of the truck! And then we get to packages! We are getting calls before 8 am from customers wanting to know if their package is here when in fact we have no clue if we are getting it or not because again it is most likely on that late truck. Then we get complaints lodged against us for not delivering the package on the expected delivery date not because of our incompetence but because the package has not arrived at our unit for delivery! It is a headache to say the least!

  11. I’m the boss and I feel no shame here. I don’t know much but I always like to tell my subordinates to do things my way, it make me feel more powerful that way. The idiot you saw walking with two cell phones, one on each ear, could have been me while I’m multitasking, and yes people said behind my back that I sound like a barking dog when I’m giving orders. My district has the worst VOE results about management competency but I’m sure it’s not about me.

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